WILMINGTON – Almost 800 dogs and their owners are taking over the Roberts Centre this weekend to compete for Best in Show, among other awards.
The Clermont County Kennel Club is hosting its annual dog show in the Eukanuba Room this weekend. The show has never been hosted in Wilmington, but the club is hopeful to attract all sorts of dog lovers of all ages.
“(Eukanuba) just did a lot of things here that make it very convenient for a dog show,” said Bill Bates, show chair.
Bates said the Roberts Centre is an ideal location for a large audience due to the proximity to Cincinnati, Columbus and Dayton. Bates added there will be many attendees coming in from outside Ohio — he said he knew of people from Michigan, Tennessee and Wisconsin who would be at the show.
“We said, ‘Yes, let’s take the chance and see if we can increase our entry,’” said Denise Gordon, publicist for the club and for the show, of the decision to hold the show in Wilmington.
The result is that the show has 200 more dogs than previous years.
Even though this is the 49th year of the Clermont County Kennel Club’s show, Bates said he wants to make the show the biggest in the Southwest Ohio region.
“They have a really big show in Cleveland every year,” he said. “They have a big one in November in Columbus. We wanted this to be the southwest’s big show.”
The goal of the club, Gordon said, is to put together the shows so dogs can get experience for the bigger shows like the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, which airs on television every year.
“A lot of professional handlers and amateur owner handlers will be here competing for best in show,” Gordon said. “They build up the points and are invited to Westminster and the (American Kennel Club) Eukanuba shows because of what they accomplish here.”
On average, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog show has around 2,000 dogs competing. Gordon said having almost 800 dogs for the Clermont County Kennel Club show is a huge feat.
“That’s almost half of what Westminster pulls in,” she said.
The way the Clermont County Kennel Club runs its dog show is a little bit different than the Westminster show, though, Gordon said.
The Westminster show is a “limited show,” she said, because people are required to stay almost all day. At the Clermont County Kennel Club show, people and their dogs are free to come and go before and after competing.
In addition to the show, there will be a health clinic people can sign up for to make sure their purebreds are in top shape.
“We get a lot of people who sign up for the health tests because a lot of these (owners) want to make sure their dogs are healthy to pass that on to the next generation,” Gordon said.
There are also many local vendors selling all sorts of items for dogs including dog food, toys and treats.
While the show is free for all, Gordon urges families not to bring their pets.
“With 800 dogs it’s just easier for everyone,” she said.
The shows start at 8 a.m. today and tomorrow and go until 4 or 5 p.m.
After the show today, there will be a sanctioned puppy match where puppies and dogs who have not had their championship yet can compete for fun. There will be ribbons and prizes for the puppies.
There will also be a junior handling class for kids ages 8 to 18, where they will learn how to be dog handlers for shows, Gordon said.
“We encourage everyone to come and enjoy themselves,” she said.
A full schedule can be found online at clermontcountykc.org.